Greetings! I hope today finds you well.
For as long as I’ve been writing A Cup of Catherine, I’ve tried to keep things relatively neutral when it comes to politics as an effort to avoid isolating any readers. Nevertheless, with everything that’s surfaced over the past year, I think the Women’s March is something each and every one of us can relate to in some way.
Our opinions, passions, personal experiences, and goals are unique, but when it comes to living out those dreams and “writing” our own stories, I believe we have more in common than we think.
Anyway, with all that said, I wanted to share some reflections on this past weekend’s Women’s March in New Orleans.
My Women’s March Experience
Last year, I was so disappointed in myself for sitting out the Women’s March. I felt as if, despite being frustrated, angry, impassioned, and ready to stand beside fellow women, I had let others down by staying home. I felt guilty.
When my good friend Shannon asked me to join her this year, I couldn’t say no!
We have been friends since college, and our children have celebrated one another’s baptisms and birthdays together. We’re actually more like family, and because of personal experiences and similar core beliefs, I couldn’t think of a better person to march with.
Initial Thoughts on the Women’s March
If you’ve never been to New Orleans, you need to know this: the city, though often in the news for senseless violence and crime, is like a giant hug.
People of all backgrounds come together—for Saints games (win or lose), for Mardi Gras, for seafood festival (after festival after festival…)—and the Women’s March was no exception.
I was amazed at how friendly and peaceful the whole experience was. Speakers (including the city’s first female mayor-elect, LaToya Cantrell) were well-received at the initial gathering in Duncan Plaza before the march; many children—girls and boys—were there with their parents; and the groups of older women brought such a big smile to my face.
With colorful costumes (and even a Mardi Gras Indian near Jackson Square), a brass band, and so many uplifting signs (of course there were a few signs I wasn’t too fond of and that one spectator on Decatur with a less than peaceful chant), it was an uplifting, invigorating, and joyful experience.
I am never shy away from talking about my privilege as a white, cisgender, college-educated woman. I have rarely—if ever— faced true discrimination, inappropriate behavior from male peers or colleagues, or economic struggle, and yet I realize that it’s my duty to the millions of other women who do face those struggles daily to use my voice and platform for good.
One thing that laid heavy on my heart last year were the reactions from women—some whom I’d grown up with and held in high regard—who ridiculed the march and argued that “those women don’t speak for me.”
That’s the thing, though—as women from all different backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, and social classes—we do speak for one another.
The march isn’t about criticizing and demoralizing men. It’s not about romanticizing abortion or pitting housewives against career women. It’s about equality. And basic human rights.
It’s about dignity and respect.
The march is about the pro-life woman walking peacefully next to the pro-choice woman because each opinion matters. And the transgender woman having as much value as the cisgender woman. And minorities obtaining equal representation so their voices are heard.
It’s about #metoo and #blacklivesmatter and #lovetrumpshate and building bridges instead of walls.
I’m so glad I got to march and be part of a movement bigger than myself. And I’m grateful for the women who’ve told their stories—particularly in this last year—without letting fear quiet their voices.
The Women’s March is more than a one-day gathering. It’s a movement—an ongoing display of resistance—and I hope to continue being part of it in whatever capacity I can.Reflections from the @WomensMarch #resist #lovetrumpshate #strongertogether Click To Tweet
[linking up with Amanda for thinking out loud]
So tell me…
- Did your town host a march and did you participate?
- What does the Women’s March mean to you?